Livan Hernandez

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights


Nationals 9, Braves 2: The Nats continue to be an outrageous pain in Atlanta’s rear end. Before the game, mindful of this and mindful of the fact that Livan Hernandez always kills the Braves, I tweeted the following: “Oh, Livan is going against the Braves tonight? Prediction: 7 IP, 3H, 1 ER, 6K, 0 BB.”  He wasn’t that good, but I wasn’t far off: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1K, 3 BB.  The common thread there is a frustrating evening for Braves hitters against a guy who has no business getting major league hitters out after all of these years but dadgummit, keeps doing it.

Yankees 5, Red Sox 2: Did I say the rivalry was boring? A John Lackey pitch to Frank Cervelli’s back changed that at least for a little while, clearing the benches even if no one threw punches. There were some earlier plunkings, though they appeared without purpose. Lackey’s seemed to be in retaliation for a Cervelli home run. To which I say “don’t suck so bad that you’re giving up home runs to Frank Cervelli and you wouldn’t be in this position.”  CC Sabathia struck out ten dudes in six innings. And the game came in one whole minute under a cool four hours!

Phillies 9, Reds 0: Roy Halladay was dominating on the mound (7 IP. 2 H, 0 ER, 9K) and he even hit a bases-loaded double. At some point we’re just gonna have to face facts that he’s a Jedi or something.

Indians 6, Athletics 2: I started watching this one on TV — I couldn’t bear to see Livan Hernandez beat up the Braves — but then I turned it off and watched “Richard Pryor Here and Now” on Netflix. I dunno why. Just not in a baseball mood last night. But Pryor holds up even 30 years later.  Anyway: the recently-recalled Jeanmar Gomez flummoxed the A’s for six innings and the Tribe managed two two-run homers in the sixth to break it open.

Tigers 2, Royals 1: Doug Fister had a perfect game going through six but then gave up a run in the seventh on a double and a pair of sacrifices. Problem for him is that the Tigers couldn’t do anything themselves against Jeff Francis. They tied it up in the eighth, however, and then Ramon Santiago hit the walkoff bomb off Aaron Crow.

Marlins 6, Mets 0: Javier Vazquez shut the Mets out for seven innings. Mike Pelfrey … did not reciprocate.

Orioles 6, Blue Jays 5: A wild finish to a game that was tied after nine. The Jays took the lead in the top of the 10th on a Kelly Johnson triple and a subsequent wild pitch. But then in the bottom of the inning Brian Tallet walked the first two batters he faced and then gave up an RBI single to pinch hitter Jake Fox and a ground rule double to Ryan Adams. Which was appropriate given that it was a heartbreaker on a day the Jays’ manager was out with pneumonia.

White Sox 8, Twins 6:  Alejandro De Aza drove in four runs and the Sox rallied for five runs in the fifth.

Rangers 2, Rays 0: Big fly for Josh Hamilton and six scoreless for Scott Feldman. I’m going to assume all Rays losses from here on out are the direct result of the curse of the Garfoose.  Though, really, he was far too polite to curse anyone when he left. But still.

Cardinals 2, Brewers 1: A win for St. Louis in a series that once looked like it would have huge playoff implications but now really doesn’t. I suppose if the Cards sweep this one and next week’s series in St. Louis, and if the Brewers start to channel the 1964 Phillies, that yes, there are still playoff implications here. But I’m not really seein’ it.

Astros 8, Pirates 2: A six-run sixth inning for Houston.  Henry Sosa allowed two hits and struck out seven over six innings. Three straight wins for the Astros. Break ’em up.

Diamondbacks 9, Rockies 4: The Dbacks are streaking their way to the NL West title. Miguel Montero and Justin Upton each homered and drove in three runs.

Cubs 5, Giants 2: And, as has become common lately, the Giants have no answer.

Dodgers 8, Padres 5: Andre Ethier should fight with his team about crap more often. A grand slam helps L.A. to an eight-run second inning.

Angels 13, Mariners 6: Mike Trout hit two homers and drove in five, leading the rout. Probably worth noting that this game featured 19 runs, 22 hits and nine walks yet finished up over an hour more quickly than the Yankees-Red Sox game.

Jessica Mendoza and Chris Archer were great in the booth

Jessica Mendoza

Not news: Jessica Mendoza, who has been excellent on all of the ESPN broadcasts she has done since taking over for Curt Schilling, was excellent last night too.

She was great on the nuts and bolts, continued to show that she can describe hitting mechanics better than most color commentators — way more of them seem to be more comfortable talking about pitching — and was a seamless presence in the booth in terms of flow, timbre and all of the aesthetic aspects of broadcasting. If she has a fault thus far it’s that she leans on some cliches about hitters’ mindsets and desire to win sometimes. This puts her in with approximately 100% of all other color commentators in baseball now and throughout the history of baseball, of course, so it’s not really a demerit.

Ultimately, the true test of a good commentator is whether they (a) add insight; and (b) do so without distracting or upstaging the game. In this Mendoza is superior to most commentators in baseball and clearly superior to the “stop and listen to me” brand of analysts the major networks have employed on national broadcasts in recent years.

Indeed, the best compliment I think I can give Mendoza is that she was — in the literal sense, not the judgmental sense — unremarkable. Meaning: during the game and after there was nothing she said or did that was worthy of the highly-critical remarks almost every broadcaster gets, going back through Schilling, Kruk, Harold Reynolds Tim McCarver, Joe Morgan and everyone else ESPN and Fox have forced upon us in their history doing playoff baseball. I’m on Twitter during most playoff games and sometimes the broadcaster bashing is more interesting than the game. Mendoza gives the would-be bashers very little material.

At least those who would bash on the actual merits. There remains a group of deadenders who are irked by her very presence in the booth because she is a woman. The New York times rounds up some of the less mouth-breathery types today, but God knows there are many, many worse. Some of them even in professional media. At least for now. Whether you choose to ignore those people or choose to engage them — which, their dead end opinions notwithstanding can be a useful exercise in my view — know that they are out there being miserable and sexist as God and the First Amendment intended them to be.

While there are many who slam Mendoza on the faulty premise that she lacks credentials and experience in the booth, there was one person in the ESPN booth last night, at least for a while, who was a total TV noob. His name was Chris Archer. He pitches a bit for the Tampa Bay Rays. And lo and behold, he was pretty damn good himself.

Archer needs some polish for style — he has a lot of “ummms” and “uhhhs” about him — but his analysis is both sharp and quick. Meaning he was RIGHT ON the points when he needed to be without any of the usual prompting guests in the booth need from the play-by-play guy. At one point he even flowed into play-by-play and did a pretty good job of it.  Chris: if that pitching stuff doesn’t work out, you have a bright, bright future in television.

So, on the first night of the playoffs, there were no complaints about the broadcast. Mostly because the broadcasters weren’t the stars of the show. The game was. And it was complemented nicely by a couple of good voices.

And John Kruk.

NL Wild Card Game: Cubs vs. Pirates lineups

Jake Arrieta

Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta

Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.

RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole

Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.